RUTLAND TOWN – A small portion of a controversial wind project proposed for Grandpa’s Knob in Castleton will be visible from part of Rutland Town, according to the developer’s latest simulations.
The Select Board was informed of this Tuesday by Planning Commission Chair Barbara Noyes Pulling, who is also a staff member at the Rutland Regional Planning Commission where the Grandpa’s Knob Community Wind Project was discussed at a recent committee meeting.
Pulling said until then no one knew the project might be visible from Rutland Town. She invited the spokesman for the developer, Sam Carlson, to give a presentation at the Dec. 16 Planning Commission meeting and also invited Select Board members to attend.
The project is backed by wind developer David Blittersdorf. Carlson, on Blittersdorf’s behalf, has spent the past few months going before select boards in Hubbardton, Castleton, Pittsfield, Proctor and West Rutland giving a preliminary idea of what the project will be.
The developers want to build a single turbine on Grandpa’s Knob in Castleton. The tower will be 275 feet high with blades sweeping 143 feet above that. The 1.5 megawatt turbine would be sited near an existing 310-foot communications tower. Half of the annual net profits would be given to the towns impacted by the project. How those funds get divided remains to be determined. The project itself is about a year away from even filing for a permit.
Since word of the project has spread, folks in opposition have been showing up to select board meetings. Many remember a 2012 proposal by another developer for a much more extensive project, up to 20 turbines, along that same ridge line, that was dropped in 2014. They oppose this project for the same reasons they opposed that one, the impacts on the view and environment. They cite the fact that none of the town plans for the municipalities involved favor industrial wind projects.
According to Blittersdorf, he wants to build this one-turbine project to honor Palmer Putnam and the Smith-Putnam turbine, a wind turbine built on Grandpa’s Knob in 1941. It was the first wind project of that size to be linked with a power grid. It no longer stands there.
“It is the case as we presented to the Rutland Regional Planning Commission that there would be a view of the wind turbine from Boardman Hill Road from a very long ways away,” said Carlson on Wednesday. “And that’s pretty much the only view.”
Simulations of what the project would look like from various vantage points have been given to the towns involved, said Carlson.
He said the project was initially thought to be visible from Proctor, but the latest models show that it won’t.
Visit grandpasknobcommunitywind.com for more details and the latest information the developers have released.
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